THE ELITE (YA) -revised!

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maggie
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Re: THE ELITE (YA)

Post by maggie » December 16th, 2010, 6:28 pm

Krista G--thanks so much for your take on that last sentence. I think I agree with you.

Joel Q--I agree with you, too. :) I think the other version was better written, but I like some of the stuff I added to this one. Thanks again for your comments!

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Re: THE ELITE (YA)

Post by hannah_dreamergirl_3 » January 4th, 2011, 8:40 am

Just to say, I want to read this book!!!! I know this isn't exactly helpful, but just to let you know, I'm 17, love books like The Luxe, Gossip Girl, Blue Bloods and this sounds fabulous, I would love to read it! I hope you get published! Seriously got excited reading the query and I know this isn't helping you, but thought you might like to hear how good it sounds to me...you're deffinetly hitting your target audience!

Thanks,

Hannah
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Re: THE ELITE (YA)

Post by Bron » January 5th, 2011, 6:42 am

A love triangle is not supposed to have life or death consequences, but 16-year-old Avery Hunter is about to discover that the stakes are higher when you’re the missing heir to the most powerful family in the world. Ditch the logline. You don't need it when you've got a longer explanation of the story below.

Avery Hunter has always been alone, her only companion a flighty mother who moved her to a new town every few years. She is excited to discover that she might have finally found a place to belong when she discovers You've used 'discover' twice in one sentence - can you use a different word either here or earlier?eccentric, wealthy family she never knew she had. Their villa in Paris, the ballgowns, the private jets—and the amazingly attractive young men they call Knights—are all great fun.

But the family is strange, too, with a social structure that would be more suitable to the middle ages than the 21st century and technology so advanced it’s like magic. It isn’t long before Avery discovers that these same people who can shut down the Prada store on the Champs Elysees for their own private use can order the bombing of any city in the world just as casually. I loved this sentence more in the older query. I'd slot that version in there. That sentence alone makes me want to read this book. I love the contrast.

This group, who call themselves the Elite, aren’t just a family. They are a very powerful secret society of twelve families who have secretly ruled the world for centuries, and Avery is one of them.I would put the bit about the prophecy and WW3 in here. I think it belongs in this bit. eg. add on "And as the first girl in the bloodline for centures, she will fulfill a prophecy that might plunge the world into World War 3.

Both horrified by the existence of the Elite and oddly drawn to her impossible new status, the last thing Avery should be doing is falling for one of their young knights—let alone two of them. But beautiful, volatile Stellan makes her feel alive, while Jack’s protective arms feel like the home she’s never had.

Just as Avery discovers her real place in the Elite, to fulfill a prophecy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she also But when Avery learns that both Jack and Stellan have secrets of their own, suddenly she has to choose not only between doing the right thing and staying part of the family she’s always wanted, but also between the boy who might help her save the world and the one she’s falling in love with.

This is really good. As I said, I want to read this book!

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Re: THE ELITE (YA)

Post by glj » January 5th, 2011, 12:18 pm

Overall, it has a good structure and good hints of conflict for the heroine.




A love triangle is not supposed to have life or death consequences, but 16-year-old Avery Hunter is about to discover that the stakes are higher when you’re the missing heir to the most powerful family in the world. I agree that is is told below, so not necessary.

Avery Hunter has always been alone, her only companion a flighty mother who moved her to a new town every few years. She is excited to discover that she might have finally found a place to belong when she discovers They don't discover her? And "discover" is used twice in this sentence. eccentric, wealthy family she never knew she had. Their "The"? villa in Paris, the ballgowns, the private jets—and the amazingly attractive young men they call Knights—are all great fun. After re-reading, I determined that her mother is flighty because she is hiding from the Elite. Right? But then this begs for a transistion, from Avery and mom moving repeatedly to the Elite finding Avery (or vice versa) and taking her in, and Avery's wonder and fascination with her new life. The reader would will empathize with her and resent Avery's having to make the subsequent choice. Here, though, the query transitions abruptly from living with her mother to living with the Elite.

Nice ending dilemma. It will create interest in reading more. Well done!

Try to avoid using words like "suddenly", especially in a query. The pace and word choice should convey the tension and time stress. And a phrase such as "the last thing she should be doing" is probably over-used and might give an agent pause. I suggested an alternative below.

*****************************************************************************
A reorganization of your elements:

Avery Hunter has always been alone, her only companion a flighty mother who moved her to a new town every few years. She is excited to discover that she might have finally found a place to belong when she discovers eccentric, wealthy family she never knew she had. This group, who call themselves the Elite, aren’t just a family, they are a very powerful secret society of twelve families who have secretly ruled the world for centuries. And Avery is one of them.

Their villa in Paris, the ballgowns, the private jets—and the amazingly attractive young men they call Knights—are all great fun. But the family is strange, too, with a social structure that would be more suitable to the middle ages. And technology so advanced it’s like magic. But the darkest secret is the contempt the Elite feel toward everyone else. Avery discovers that these same people who can shut down the Prada store on the Champs Elysees for their own private use can order the bombing of any city in the world just as casually.

Both horrified by the existence of the Elite and oddly drawn to her impossible new status, Avery realizes she should not fall for one of their young knights—let alone two of them. But beautiful, volatile Stellan makes her feel alive, while Jack’s protective arms feel like a home she’s never had. When Avery discovers her real place in the Elite, destined to fulfill a prophecy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she also learns that Jack and Stellan have secrets of their own. Avery has to choose not only between doing the right thing and staying part of the family she’s always wanted, but also between the boy who might help her save the world and the one she’s falling in love with.

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Re: THE ELITE (YA)

Post by esmith1 » January 8th, 2011, 8:48 pm

Hey Maggie, you have some great ideas for your query. I am in my late twenties and consider myself to be a person that doesn't read YA type books but I would read yours! You are definitely on to something good. Good luck!

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Re: THE ELITE (YA)

Post by maggie » January 9th, 2011, 9:27 pm

Hi everyone! Thanks so much for your insights. I'm sorry--no one has commented on this for a while, so I haven't looked at this thread for a few days!

Hannah- Thanks so much! It is really helpful, because when I'm banging my head against the wall from writing (like I am right now!) it's amazingly encouraging to hear that someone is interested in the story. Especially an actual teenager--I'm in my late 20's, and don't know a lot of teenagers, so I'm glad to hear you like the idea!

esmith1--um...same as above. :) besides the teenager part! Thanks so much for your comment!

By the way, if either of you (or anyone else!) are actually interested in reading it, PM me, because I'm making a lot of changes right now, but am going to be looking for more critique partners soon, and I'd love if you wanted to read it-- and I could read your WIP as well!

glj--thanks again for your comments. That's an interesting reorganization. In the book, Avery doesn't find out right away what the Elite really are, so I tried to reflect that in the query, but I suppose a query doesn't necessarily have to reflect the book's exact structure? It is interesting bringing in this info earlier. And the "discover" thing--oops. Just didn't catch that.

Bron--thanks so much for your comments! I like the things you switched around, and I'm going to re-post a new version maybe later tonight, taking all this into account. I agree that the logline can go, so thanks for your input on that.

As always, thank you again. These comments are so helpful!

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Re: THE ELITE (YA)

Post by kevinott777 » January 27th, 2011, 1:17 pm

Maggie,

You were working on this in December, so my comment might be out-of-date and not useful, but I wanted to give my two cents. First of all, I REALLY like your story idea. I want to read that book. I love conspiracy stories like that. It would also make a fantastic movie that I would definitely pay to see (I also love fun action/conspiracy movies with romance thrown in). As a fellow author and querier, I find myself moving between feeling insecure about my query to feeling doubtful about my story itself, regardless of how good my query is (i.e. "is my story really a good story idea?"), so I wanted to encourage you. I dig your story idea, personally.

In your most recent version of your query, I miss the imagery about the Prada store being shut down for their private use (something that DOES happen, I live in a very wealthy city, and I hear about celebrities and billionaires doing wild things like that, and it always fascinates me)...and I miss the glamorous picture of how this family had the world wrapped around the fingers in both luxury AND power (as we see later in your query). But that early imagery of glamor and luxury in your query really set a nice mood. It drew me in immediately. I kinda missed it when it was removed. But either way, your story idea still ROCKS.

Also, one other teeny tiny comment: "—are all great fun." I kinda like that phrase without the "are"...--all great fun. It feels more succinct and better fits your conversational voice. Just a suggestion.

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maggie
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Re: THE ELITE (YA)

Post by maggie » February 3rd, 2011, 2:42 pm

Thanks so much kevinott777! (Sorry I didn't see this for a few days--haven't been checking up on this thread as much)

I totally agree with you about leaving in the feeling of luxury/glamour, and in the most recent version I've been working on, I've brought that imagery back--I do think it adds to the feel of it. (and how interesting that you see that happen in your city!) And thanks so much for liking the idea! It's always exciting to know that someone finds your story idea interesting. :) But then what I start feeling insecure about is doing the idea justice in the actual book...

Anyway, thanks so much for the comments!

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Re: THE ELITE (YA)

Post by maggie » February 28th, 2011, 2:15 am

NEW VERSION!

Hi everyone!
Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback here previously, and I have a couple of new versions to test out. Which do you like better? Or do you like previous versions better? Thoughts? [Obviously, these are just the story part of the query, and not the rest] :) Thanks again!

Version 1:

On Avery Castle’s first day with her newfound French family, they close down the Prada store at the Champs-Elysees so she can shop for a ballgown in peace. Later, they order the bombing of a city on the other side of the world as easily as they ordered her dinner. This small town 16-year-old’s new family is not just a family. They are part of an ancient royalty turned modern secret society called The Elite, and Avery is much more than just a distant relative.

Both horrified by the existence of the Elite and fascinated by her impossible new status as one of them, Avery should not be falling for one the enigmatic young men they call knights—let alone two. But beautiful, volatile Stellan makes her feel alive, while Jack’s protective arms feel like the home she’s never had.

When Avery discovers that a series of recent “terrorist attacks” are anything but coincidence, she has to uncover what they have to do with her before the final attack hits much closer to home. And when she does, stopping it could mean not only betraying the family she’s just discovered, but choosing between the boy who might help her save the world and the one she’s falling in love with.

Version 2:

After two mysterious young men show up at her high school prom with information about her long-dead father, 16-year-old Avery Castle finds herself a half-willing kidnappee on a private jet to France. The family she meets there claim to be distant relatives, and this small town girl is intoxicated by their villa in Paris, the ballgowns, and the social structure that would be more at home in the middle ages than in the 21st century. Even more intriguing, though, are beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious loner Jack, the enigmatic young men they call knights.

Soon, however, Avery discovers that this family is not just a family. When they want to shop in peace, they shut down the Prada store at the Champs-Elysees, and when they want to start a war, they blow up a monument on the other side of the world with a snap of their fingers. The family is part of an ancient royalty turned modern secret society called The Elite, and Avery is much more than just distant family to them.

When she discovers that a series of “terrorist attacks” that started just as she arrived in Paris are anything but coincidence, she has to find out what the plot has to do with her before the final attack hits much closer to home. And when she does, stopping it might mean not only betraying the family she’s just discovered, but choosing between the boy who might help her save the world and the one she’s falling in love with.
Last edited by maggie on March 2nd, 2011, 1:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: THE ELITE (YA)

Post by wilderness » February 28th, 2011, 11:31 pm

I think the second version does a better job of grounding us since previous versions did not make it clear how Avery came to meet her new-found family. I also like the last line better -- the stakes in her decision between the two boys are more concrete and dramatic. There are places you can tighten up the writing a bit, but generally, I think the concept is intriguing. Good luck!
maggie wrote:
After two mysterious young men show up at her high school prom with information about her long-dead father, 16-year-old Avery Castle finds herself a half-willing kidnappeeon a private jet to France. The family she meets there claim to be distant relatives, and this small town girlAvery is intoxicated by their villa in Paris, the ballgowns, and the social structure that would be more at home in the middle ages than in the 21st century. Hmm, that's a bit wordy, can you just say their medieval social structure? Even more intriguing, though, are beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious loner Jack, the enigmatic young men they call knights. I would rearrange this sentence to "Even more intriguing, though, are the enigmatic young men they call knights: beautiful, volotile Stellan and mysterious loner Jack."

Soon, however, Avery discovers that this family is not just a family. When they want to shop in peace, they shut down the Prada store at the Champs-Elysees, and when they want to start a war, they blow up a monument on the other side of the world with a snap of their fingers. The family is part of an ancientroyalty turned modern secret society called The Elite, and Avery is much more than just distant family to them. What is she to them? "much more than just distant family" seems unnecessarily long phrasing.

When she discovers that a series of “terrorist attacks” (I feel the quotes are unnecessary; you tell us there is something going on soon enough) that started just as she arrived in Paris are anything but coincidence, she has to find out what the plot has to do with her before the final attack hits much closer to home. "hits much closer to home" is a little cliche And when she does, stopping it might mean not only betraying the family she’s just discovered, but choosing between the boy who might help her save the world and the one she’s falling in love with. Nice last line!

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Re: THE ELITE (YA) -revised!

Post by littlebird » March 1st, 2011, 5:03 pm

After two mysterious young men show up at her high school prom with information about her long-dead father, 16-year-old Avery Castle finds herself a half-willing kidnappee on a private jet to France. Great opening line!)The family she meets there claims to be distant relatives, live in an incredible villa and adhere to an old-fashioned social structure?and this small town girl is intoxicated by their villa in Paris, the ballgowns, and the social structure that would be more at home in the middle ages than in the 21st century.Even more intriguing, though, are beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious loner Jack, the enigmatic young men they call knights. This sentence is awkward to me. Can you cut it back? Maybe, Even more intriguing are the two young men they call knights?

Soon, however, Avery discovers that this familypart secret society called The Elite not just a family. When they want to shop in peace, they shut down the Prada store at the Champs-Elysees, and when they want to start a war, they blow up a monument on the other side of the world with a snap of their fingers. The family is part of an ancient royalty turned modern secret society called The Elite, and Avery is much more than just distant family to them.

When she discovers that a series of “terrorist attacks” that started just as she arrived in Paris are anything but coincidence, she has to find out what the plot has to do with her before the final attack hits much closer to homeMaybe this is where you put the bit about her being more than family?. And when she does, stopping it might mean not only betraying the family she’s just discovered but choosing between the boy who might help her save the world and the one she’s falling in love with. Great closing line!

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Re: THE ELITE (YA) -revised!

Post by maggie » March 2nd, 2011, 1:01 am

Wilderness and littlebird -- Thanks so much for your thoughts! I really appreciate the suggestions on where to tighten or change wording. :)

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Re: THE ELITE (YA) -revised!

Post by AllieS » March 5th, 2011, 1:28 am

Definitely version two. Reading the first one, I had no idea why Avery was with a new French family, or how they could possibly close down stores as they pleased. This version clears that up.


After two mysterious young men show up at her high school prom with information about her long-dead father, 16-year-old Avery Castle finds herself a half-willing kidnappee on a private jet to France. Why only half-willing? I feel as though if you're even a little willing you're not really a kidnapee. The family she meets there claim to be distant relatives, and this small town girl is intoxicated by their villa in Paris, the ballgowns, and the social structure that would be more at home in the middle ages than in the 21st century. Does she have no other family to check up on this new family with? Who was she living with back home? I like the setting, though. Even more intriguing, though, are beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious loner Jack, the enigmatic young men they call knights. Her new family calls them knights?

Soon, however, Avery discovers that this family is not just a family. When they want to shop in peace, they shut down the Prada store at the Champs-Elysees, and when they want to start a war, they blow up a monument on the other side of the world with a snap of their fingers. Good, catchy line. The family is part of an ancient royalty turned modern secret society called The Elite, and Avery is much more than just distant family to them.

When she discovers that a series of “terrorist attacks” that started just as she arrived in Paris are anything but coincidence, she has to find out what the plot has to do with her before the final attack hits much closer to home. And when she does, stopping it might mean not only betraying the family she’s just discovered, but choosing between the boy who might help her save the world and the one she’s falling in love with.I'm a fan of this last line. It shows what's at stake, and makes me want to read more.

Hope this helps!

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Re: THE ELITE (YA) -revised!

Post by Bron » March 6th, 2011, 3:39 am

I think the second query is better overall. You show rather than tell us the story. I've made more specific comments below.
maggie wrote:NEW VERSION!

Hi everyone!
Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback here previously, and I have a couple of new versions to test out. Which do you like better? Or do you like previous versions better? Thoughts? [Obviously, these are just the story part of the query, and not the rest] :) Thanks again!

Version 1:

On Avery Castle’s first day with her newfound French family, they close down the Prada store at the Champs-Elysees so she can shop for a ballgown in peace. Later, they order the bombing of a city on the other side of the world as easily as they ordered her dinner. This small town 16-year-old’s new family is not just a family. They are part of an ancient royalty turned modern secret society called The Elite, and Avery is much more than just a distant relative.

Both horrified by the existence of the Elite and fascinated by her impossible new status as one of them, Avery should not be falling for one the enigmatic young men they call knights—let alone two. But beautiful, volatile Stellan makes her feel alive, while Jack’s protective arms feel like the home she’s never had.

When Avery discovers that a series of recent “terrorist attacks” are anything but coincidence, she has to uncover what they have to do with her before the final attack hits much closer to home. And when she does, stopping it could mean not only betraying the family she’s just discovered, but choosing between the boy who might help her save the world and the one she’s falling in love with.

Version 2:

After two mysterious young men show up at her high school prom with information about her long-dead father, 16-year-old Avery Castle finds herself a half-willing kidnappee on a private jet to France. The family she meets there claim to be distant relatives,. I would move the first sentence in the next paragraph to this paragraph. You are basically saying the same thing, and I think introducing the idea of the medieval social structure is more confusing than anything, because you don't explain it further. There is only a reference to the 'knights' but again I don't think you need this in the query. and this small town girl is intoxicated by their villa in Paris, the ballgowns, and the social structure that would be more at home in the middle ages than in the 21st century. Even more intriguing, though, are beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious loner Jack, the enigmatic young men they call knights.Soon, however, Avery discovers that this family is not just a family. When they want to shop in peace, they shut down the Prada store at the Champs-Elysees, and when they want to start a war, they blow up a monument on the other side of the world with a snap of their fingers.But then Avery discovers that these same people who can shut down the Prada store for her own personal shopping day can order the bombing of a nation’s capital and not think twice about it. - I inserted this sentence from your original query because I really liked it. I think its very effective in highlighting the contrast between the 'fun' powers her new family have and their sinister powers. The family is part of an ancient-royalty-turned-modern-secret-society called The Elite, and Avery is much more than just distant family to them.

When she discovers that a series of “terrorist attacks” that started just as she arrived in Paris are anything but coincidence, she has to find out what the plot has to do with her before the final attack hits much closer to home. And when she does, stopping it might mean not only betraying the family she’s just discovered, but choosing between the boy who might help her save the world and the one she’s falling in love with.
I think this last paragraph is a bit vague. I liked what you said in the original about her being the first girl for centuries and I think you could mention that here and outline her choices and the possible consequences more clearly.

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Re: THE ELITE (YA) -revised!

Post by Joel Q » March 8th, 2011, 2:03 pm

I like the second version like everyone else.
And I agree with most of the other comments.
So, I'll leave it at that.
JQ

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